Place of originUkraine[1]
Associated cuisine
Main ingredientsMilk
Nutritional value
(per 100 g serving)
Protein≥3 g
Fat0.5−8.9 g
Carbohydrate4−5 g

Ryazhenka, or ryazhanka (Russian: ряженка; Belarusian: ражанка, Ukrainian: ряжанка),[2] is a traditional fermented milk product in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.[3][4][5] It is made from baked milk by lactic acid fermentation.[6]

Origin and etymology

Russian and Soviet sources call it "Little-Russian ryazhenka",[7] "Ukrainian ryazhenka",[8] or "Ukrainian soured milk" (украинская простокваша, ukrainskaya prostokvasha)[9][10][11] and attribute its origin to Ukrainian cuisine.[1][4][12] The name is cognate with the Ukrainian "пряжений" as in "пряжене молоко" (pryazhene moloko, "baked milk").[1][13]

Similar dairy products

Similar traditional products made by fermenting baked milk have been known in Russia as varenets.[14] While some dictionaries define both names as synonyms,[15] the industry standard GOST distinguishes between the two products, specifying somewhat different production processes.[6][16]

Similar products include qatiq and kaymak,[7] in Turkic countries. The milk is heated to a high temperature before fermentation, which is the main factor distinguishing ryazhenka, varenets, qatiq, and kaymak from yogurt-based drinks.


Ryazhenka is made by first pasteurizing milk before simmering it on low heat for eight hours, at minimum. Historically, this was done by placing a clay pot (glechik or krinka) with milk in a traditional Ukrainian oven for a day, until it was coated with a brown crust. Prolonged exposure to heat leads to the Maillard reaction between the milk's amino acids and sugars, resulting in the formation of melanoidin compounds that give it a creamy color and caramel flavor. A great deal of moisture evaporates, resulting in a change of consistency. In household production, sour cream (smetana) is subsequently added to trigger fermentation. In modern industrial production, pure thermophile bacterial cultures (Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus) are used instead.[6] The mixture is then kept in a warm place; the fermentation occurs at temperatures above ca. 40 °C / 100 °F and usually takes from three to six hours.

The fat content of industrially produced ryazhenka is typically 3.5–4%, but in general, it is allowed to vary from <0.5% (if made from skimmed milk) up to 8.9%.[6] The protein content is at least 3%.[6] The carbohydrate content is usually 4–5%. Like scalded milk, ryazhenka is free of harmful bacteria and enzymes and can be stored safely at room temperature for up to forty hours.


  1. ^ a b c Drey, Victoria (18 April 2018). "Want to feel like a Ukrainian? Drink Ryazhenka before going to bed!". Russia Beyond. Retrieved 31 July 2020. Nobody knows for sure when and who firstly came up with this unique recipe, but originally it was invented in Ukraine and then spread all over the Slavic region. In Ancient Rus they mixed milk with cream in special earthen pots and left them in a stove for hours on low heat until ryazhenka thickened enough.
  2. ^ Also romanized riazhenka or riazhanka
  3. ^ Ken Albala, ed. (2011). Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 382. ISBN 9780313376269.
  4. ^ a b А. И. Титюнник; Ю. М. Новоженов (1977). Советская национальная и зарубежная кухня. Москва: Высшая школа. ISBN 9785458259040. [A. I. Tityunnik; Yu. M. Novozhenov (1977). Soviet ethnic and foreign cuisine (in Russian). Moscow: Vysshaya Shkola.]
  5. ^ "Traditional Foods". Encyclopedia of Ukraine. 2001.
  6. ^ a b c d e ГОСТ 31455-2012. Ряженка. Технические условия (International State Standard GOST 31455-2012. Ryazhenka. Specifications; in Russian)
  7. ^ a b А. Сальникова; А. Толиверова (1880). Поваренная книга для молодых хозяек. [A. Salnikova; A. Toliverova (1880). A Cookbook for Young Housewives (in Russian).] Reprinted in Пасхальный домашний стол. Блюда к Великому посту и Пасхе. Litres. 2015. p. 105. ISBN 9785457836976. This milk product is called малороссийская ряженка (malorossiyskaya ryazhenka, 'Little Russian ryazhenka') in this book, with Малороссия (Malorossiya, Little Russia) being at that time a common geographical term referring to the territory of modern-day Ukraine.
  8. ^ "Вестник статистики: орган ЦСУ СССР". Госстатиздат. 1969. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help) ["Statistics Herald" (in Russian). Publishing House of the USSR State Statistics Office. 1969. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)]
  9. ^ К. С. Петровский (1975). Гигиена питания (in Russian). Москва: Медицина. ISBN 9785458294584. [K. S. Petrovskiy (1975). Food Hygiene (in Russian). Moscow: Meditsina.]
  10. ^ Молочная промышленность (in Russian). Москва: Пищепромиздат. 1981. [Dairy Industry (in Russian). Moscow: Publishing House of the USSR Ministry of Food Industry. 1981.]
  11. ^ Молочная и мясная промышленность. Москва: Агропромиздат. 1988. [Dairy and Meat Industry (in Russian). Moscow: Publishing House of the USSR State Committee for Agricultural Industry. 1988.]
  12. ^ В. В. Похлебкин (1983). Национальные кухни наших народов. Москва: Пищевая промышленность. p. 71. [William Pokhlyobkin (1983). The Ethnic Cuisines of our Peoples (in Russian). Moscow: Food Industry publishing house. p. 71.]
  13. ^ Ж. Ж. Варбот (2012). Исследования по русской и славянской этимологии. Санкт-Петербург: Нестор-История. p. 573. ISBN 978-5-98187-777-3. [Zh. Zh. Varbot (2012). Studies in Russian and Slavic etymology (in Russian). St. Petersburg: Nestor-Istoriya. p. 573.]
  14. ^ Molokhovets, Elena (1998) [1861]. Classic Russian Cooking: Elena Molokhovets' A Gift to Young Housewives. Translated by Toomre, Joyce Stetson. Indiana University Press. p. 369. ISBN 9780253212108.
  15. ^ С. И. Ожегов; Н. Ю. Шведова (1999). "Ряженка". Толковый словарь русского языка. Москва: Российская академия наук. Институт русского языка им. В. В. Виноградова. ISBN 5-89285-003-X. [Sergey Ozhegov; Natalia Shvedova (1999). "Ryazhenka". Dictionary of the Russian Language (in Russian). Moscow: V. V. Vinogradov Russian Language Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.]
  16. ^ ГОСТ Р 53508-2009. Варенец. Технические условия (International State Standard GOST 53508-2009. Varenets. Specifications; in Russian)